Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Papers in Scientific Journals

3D Mimicry of Native-Tissue-Fiber Architecture Guides Tendon-Derived Cells and Adipose Stem Cells into Artificial Tendon Constructs


Tendon and ligament (T/L) function is intrinsically related with their unique hierarchically and anisotropically organized extracellular matrix. Their natural healing capacity is, however, limited. Here, continuous and aligned electrospun nanofiber threads (CANT) based on synthetic/natural polymer blends mechanically
reinforced with cellulose nanocrystals are produced to replicate the nanoscale collagen fibrils grouped into microscale collagen fibers that compose the native T/L. CANT are then incrementally assembled into 3D hierarchical scaffolds, resulting in woven constructions, which simultaneously mimic T/L nano-to-macro architecture, nanotopography, and nonlinear biomechanical behavior. Biological performance is assessed using human-tendon-derived cells (hTDCs) and human adipose stem cells (hASCs). Scaffolds nanotopography and microstructure induce a high cytoskeleton elongation and anisotropic organization typical of tendon tissues. Moreover, the expression of tendon-related markers (Collagen types I and III, Tenascin-C, and
Scleraxis) by both cell types, and the similarities observed on their expression patterns over time suggest that the developed scaffolds not only prevent the phenotypic drift of hTDCs, but also trigger tenogenic differentiation of hASCs. Overall, these results demonstrate a feasible approach for the scalable production of 3D hierarchical scaffolds that exhibit key structural and biomechanical properties, which can be advantageously explored in acellular and cellular T/L TE strategies.

John Wiley & Sons
3D hierarchical scaffolds, nanotopography, tendons, Tenogenic differentiation, Tissue engineering
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
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